IFRS 15 adopted, policies, para 35(c), no alternative use, enforceable right to payment for performance to date

BAE Systems plc – Annual report – 31 December 2018

Industry: manufacturing; aerospace

  1. Changes in accounting policies and restatements (extracts)

This note explains the impact of changes in accounting policies and the correction of a prior year error on the Group’s financial statements.

Impact on financial statements

As a result of changes in the Group’s accounting policies, prior year comparative information has been restated for the adoption of IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers. As explained below, IFRS 9 Financial Instruments was adopted without restating comparative information.

Following an internal review of the third-party accounting valuation of a longevity swap held by one of the Group’s pension schemes, the Group became aware of an error in respect of the treatment of experience collateral in the accounting valuation. This resulted in a material error in the value of pension scheme assets included in the financial statements for the years ended 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2016. This error has been corrected retrospectively by restating the comparative amounts presented in these financial statements.

The following tables show the adjustments recognised for each individual line item. Line items that are not affected by the changes have not been included. As a result, the sub-totals and totals disclosed cannot be recalculated from the numbers provided.

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IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers – impact of adoption

The Group has adopted IFRS 15 fully retrospectively in accordance with paragraph C3(a). Comparatives for the year ended 31 December 2017 have been restated. The following expedients have been used in accordance with paragraph C5:

  • revenue in respect of completed contracts that begin and end in the same accounting period has not been restated;
  • revenue in respect of completed contracts with variable consideration reflects the transaction price at the date the contracts were completed; and
  • the transaction price allocated to unsatisfied and partially unsatisfied performance obligations as at 31 December 2017 is not disclosed.

The accounting policy in respect of revenue applied from 1 January 2018 is set out in note 1.

As a result of the adoption of IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers from 1 January 2018, the following adjustments were made to restate the amounts recognised in the balance sheet at 31 December 2017:

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The impact of adoption on the Group’s retained earnings at 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2016 is as follows:

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  1. Segmental analysis (extract)

Revenue and profit recognition

Revenue represents income derived from contracts for the provision of goods and services, over time or at a point in time, by the Group to customers in exchange for consideration in the ordinary course of the Group’s activities.

Performance obligations

Upon approval by the parties to a contract, the contract is assessed to identify each promise to transfer either a distinct good or service or a series of distinct goods or services that are substantially the same and have the same pattern of transfer to the customer. Goods and services are distinct and accounted for as separate performance obligations in the contract if the customer can benefit from them either on their own or together with other resources that are readily available to the customer and they are separately identifiable in the contract.

The Group provides warranties to its customers to give them assurance that its products and services will function in line with agreed-upon specifications. Warranties are not provided separately and, therefore, do not represent separate performance obligations.

Transaction price

At the start of the contract, the total transaction price is estimated as the amount of consideration to which the Group expects to be entitled in exchange for transferring the promised goods and services to the customer, excluding sales taxes. Variable consideration, such as price escalation, is included based on the expected value or most likely amount only to the extent that it is highly probable that there will not be a reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognised. The transaction price does not include estimates of consideration resulting from contract modifications, such as change orders, until they have been approved by the parties to the contract. The total transaction price is allocated to the performance obligations identified in the contract in proportion to their relative stand-alone selling prices. Given the bespoke nature of many of the Group’s products and services, which are designed and/or manufactured under contract to the customer’s individual specifications, there are typically no observable stand-alone selling prices. Instead, stand-alone selling prices are typically estimated based on expected costs plus contract margin consistent with the Group’s pricing principles.

Whilst payment terms vary from contract to contract, on many of the Group’s contracts, an element of the transaction price is received in advance of delivery. The Group therefore has significant contract liabilities (note 21). The Group’s contracts are not considered to include significant financing components on the basis that there is no difference between the consideration and the cash selling price. UK Ministry of Defence contracting rules prohibit the inclusion of financing in the sales price. Negotiations on competitive international export contracts do not make allowance for the cash payment profile.

Revenue and profit recognition

Revenue is recognised as performance obligations are satisfied as control of the goods and services is transferred to the customer.

For each performance obligation within a contract, the Group determines whether it is satisfied over time or at a point in time. Performance obligations are satisfied over time if one of the following criteria is satisfied:

  • the customer simultaneously receives and consumes the benefits provided by the Group’s performance as it performs;
  • the Group’s performance creates or enhances an asset that the customer controls as the asset is created or enhanced; or
  • the Group’s performance does not create an asset with an alternative use to the Group and it has an enforceable right to payment for performance completed to date.

The Group has determined that most of its contracts satisfy the over time criteria, either because the customer simultaneously receives and consumes the benefits provided by the Group’s performance as it performs (typically services or support contracts) or the Group’s performance does not create an asset with an alternative use to the Group and it has an enforceable right to payment for performance completed to date (typically development or production contracts).

For each performance obligation to be recognised over time, the Group recognises revenue using an input method, based on costs incurred in the period. Revenue and attributable margin are calculated by reference to reliable estimates of transaction price and total expected costs, after making suitable allowances for technical and other risks. Revenue and associated margin are therefore recognised progressively as costs are incurred, and as risks have been mitigated or retired. The Group has determined that this method appropriately depicts the Group’s performance in transferring control of the goods and services to the customer.

If the over time criteria for revenue recognition are not met, revenue is recognised at the point in time that control is transferred to the customer, which is usually when legal title passes to the customer and the business has the right to payment, for example, on delivery.

When it is probable that total contract costs will exceed total contract revenue, the expected loss is recognised immediately as an expense.

Software licences

The Group sells software licences either separately or together with other goods and services, including computer hardware and implementation, hosting and support. Revenue recognition in respect of software licences sold as part of a bundle of goods and services is considered separately when the licence is determined to be a separate performance obligation. Software licences either represent a right to access the Group’s intellectual property as it exists throughout the licence period or a right to use the Group’s intellectual property as it exists at the point in time at which the licence is granted. Revenue in respect of right to access licences is recognised over the licence term or, in relation to perpetual licences, over the related customer relationship and revenue in respect of right to use licences is recognised upfront on delivery to the customer. A software licence is considered to be a right to access the Group’s intellectual property as it exists throughout the licence period if all of the following criteria are satisfied:

  • the contract requires, or the customer reasonably expects, that the Group will undertake activities that significantly affect the intellectual property; and
  • the licence directly exposes the customer to the effects of those activities; and
  • those activities do not result in the transfer of a good or service to the customer.

Contract modifications

The Group’s contracts are often amended for changes in customers’ requirements and specifications. A contract modification exists when the parties to the contract approve a modification that either changes existing or creates new enforceable rights and obligations. The effect of a contract modification on the transaction price and the Group’s measure of progress towards the satisfaction of the performance obligation to which it relates is recognised in one of the following ways:

  1. prospectively, as an additional, separate contract;
  2. prospectively, as a termination of the existing contract and creation of a new contract; or
  3. as part of the original contract using a cumulative catch-up.

The majority of the Group’s contract modifications are treated under either 1 (for example, the requirement for additional distinct goods or services) or 3 (for example, a change in the specification of the distinct goods or services for a partially completed contract), although the facts and circumstances of any contract modification are considered individually as the types of modifications will vary contract-by-contract and may result in different accounting outcomes.

Costs to obtain a contract

The Group expenses pre-contract bidding costs which are incurred regardless of whether a contract is awarded. The Group does not typically incur costs to obtain contracts that it would not have incurred had the contracts not been awarded, such as sales commission. 

Costs to fulfil a contract

Contract fulfilment costs in respect of over time contracts are expensed as incurred. Contract fulfilment costs in respect of point in time contracts are accounted for under IAS 2 Inventories.

  1. Trade, other and contract receivables (extract)

Trade receivables are stated at amortised cost including a provision for expected credit losses. The Group measures the provision at an amount equal to lifetime expected credit losses, estimated by reference to past experience and relevant forward-looking factors.

The Group writes off a trade receivable when there is objective evidence that the debtor is in significant financial difficulty and there is no realistic prospect of recovery, for example, when a debtor enters bankruptcy or financial reorganisation.

Contract receivables represent amounts for which the Group has an unconditional right to consideration in respect of unbilled revenue recognised at the balance sheet date and comprise costs incurred plus attributable margin.

  1. Trade and other payables (extract)

Contract liabilities represent the obligation to transfer goods or services to a customer for which consideration has been received, or consideration is due, from the customer.

Preparation (extract)

Judgements made in applying accounting policies

In the course of preparing the financial statements, no judgements have been made in the process of applying the Group’s accounting policies, other than those involving estimates, that have had a significant effect on the amounts recognised in the financial statements.

Sources of estimation uncertainty

The application of the Group’s accounting policies requires the use of estimates. In the event that these estimates prove to be incorrect, there may be an adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year. The key significant risks of a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities during 2019 have been considered and assessed as relating to the following:

  • The determination of the discount rate and inflation assumptions underpinning the valuation of the liabilities of the Group’s defined benefit pension schemes, where there is a range of possible values for each of the actuarial assumptions and small changes in assumptions may have a significant impact on the size of the deficit. Note 22 provides information on the key assumptions and analysis of their sensitivities.
  • The consideration of the carrying value of goodwill for impairment requires an assessment of future cash flows expected to be generated from the associated cash-generating unit, as well as the appropriate discount rate to apply to these projections. Note 8 provides information on the key assumptions adopted by the Group and associated sensitivity analysis.
  • Revenue and profit recognition on contracts is based on estimates of future costs as well as an assessment of contingencies for technical and other risks, such as the Group’s inability to obtain or maintain the necessary export licences. Note 1 includes information on revenue recognised in the year in respect of performance obligations satisfied or partially satisfied in previous periods providing an indication of the range of outcomes relating to these estimates.
  • Tax provisioning is based on estimates of the potential outcomes of tax litigation or negotiations, the amount recorded being the single most likely amount in a range of possible outcomes. Such provisions can be difficult to estimate due to the complexity involved and the uncertainty in the process for their resolution. Note 16 provides information relating to potential material changes regarding tax provisions in the next financial year.

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